Photo by Darin Kamnetz

Discrimination drives desire for representation
Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate Tumani Jackson is preparing to serve where change is needed

The discrimination Tumani Jackson, ’24 DNP, saw Black patients experience while she was an emergency and cardiac nurse in North Carolina set her on a path toward becoming a voice for those who feel they do not have one.

“I had witnessed a few things in the hospital,” Jackson says. “There needed to be more education. People who look like me needed to be advocated for, as a lot of time there aren’t a lot of us who look like me in roles of leadership. That’s the main reason why I decided to go back to school.”

Jackson chose the University of Minnesota—despite a literal allergy to the cold—because of its health innovation and leadership (HIL) specialty within the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

“What I liked about the HIL program is that it’s so diverse. It allows you to do whatever you want. I have colleagues who focus on planetary health. For me, I want to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion and leadership in that aspect,” she says.

Jackson says a highlight of the program was travelling to Cuba with HIL students and faculty. “Actually going there and meeting the people and seeing what their health care system looks like was amazing to me,” she says. Jackson says receiving a Bentson scholarship was crucial to being able to pursue a DNP degree. The Bentson Doctor of Nursing Practice Scholarship was established by the Bentson Foundation to support DNP students, particularly those interested in serving underserved populations.

“Without proper representation from BIPOC health care professionals, BIPOC patients will continue to suffer in a system that was not designed for them,” Jackson says. “As a DNP student nurse, I learned to be the voice and the advocate for those who do not have a voice. As a Bentson scholarship recipient, I’ve learned that paying it forward is more than monetary. It’s me giving the power back to those who often feel powerless or hopeless.”

Jackson is optimistic about how she’ll use her new degree to change and shape health care.

“The sky is the limit. I know that I’ll be able to not only have the knowledge but the resources. I will have the confidence to be able to step into a place of work or whatever place that I feel there is a change needed and know that, number one, I have the tools.”

Support students seeking a career in nursing through the Frances McHie Nursing Scholarship

This story originally appeared in the Spring/Summer 2024 issue of Minnesota Nursing magazine.

More stories

UMD grad student Mady Larson wants to apply his research on drought-tolerant plants to agricultural crops
A future physician discovers the power of poetry to heal
Members of the inaugural BA/MD Scholars Program cohort reflect on their experiences as they get ready for their residency training